Cover Photo: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Last year's NFL draft gave us two of the better tight-end prospects in recent memory, and this Sunday we'll see them share the same field. The Browns' David Njoku and the Bucs' O.J. Howard were both first-round draft picks that have been playing as such recently. Each has been important to their respective offense, but only one can emerge as the primary fantasy tight end in this matchup.
O.J. Howard: It's hard to figure out what's more ridiculous, the rate at which Howard recovered from his injury or his performance while returning from it. Howard was expected to miss up to a month with an MCL sprain and instead came back from the bye week ready to go. Despite battling with fellow tight end Cameron Brate for red-zone targets, Howard has managed to carve out a role for himself in this Jameis Winston-led offense.
David Njoku: It has been a tale of two halves when it comes to the season so far for Njoku. He, just like the Browns, looked like they were going to have another bad year until the could-be franchise savior Baker Mayfield stepped onto the field and changed the outlook of both. Since Mayfield has been the QB, Njoku has had an incredible turnaround as he's received nearly a quarter of the team's targets over the past three games. Njoku has been deemed his safety blanket and then some as he's been the top target for the rookie QB.
Verdict: It's hard to ignore the upside Njoku has here. He has trended upward in each of the last three games, increasing his targets and receptions while finding the end zone for the first time this season last week. Not only has he been constantly improving, but he has the best matchup for a tight end in football as the Buccaneers have been ripped apart by players at that position all season.
The Browns, on the other hand, have been more than solid against tight ends. Aside from a huge game from Jared Cook in Week 4, the Browns have given up zero touchdowns, less than 61 yards and five or less catches in the other five matchups. Factor in Brate cutting into Howard's red-zone targets, and Njoku becomes the no-brainer choice in this one.
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